Mar 15th 2019

Still Here: Torture, Resiliency and the Art of Memorializing

@ Arts and Public Life

301 E Garfield Blvd, Chicago, IL 60637

Opening Friday, March 15th, from 6PM - 8PM

On view through Friday, April 26th

Opening Reception: Friday, March 15, 2019 | 6-8pm

Presented by
Arts + Public Life and Chicago Torture Justice Memorials

Still Here is an exhibition showcasing six design proposals submitted by commissioned artists which will become the Chicago Torture Justice Memorial. The public memorial brings awareness to the torture of more than 120 Black men and women from 1972 to 1991 by the Chicago Police Department under the direction of former Police Commander Jon Burge. The memorial is intended to honor the decades-long struggle for justice, as well as the survivors, families, and communities targeted by Burge and his midnight crew.

The public memorial is one component of the historic Reparations Ordinance passed on May 6, 2015. Chicago is the first municipality in the United States to provide reparations for racially-motivated law enforcement violence. Six artists were invited to submit proposals to produce an ambitious, permanent public artwork to honor named and unnamed torture survivors. The artists are Monica Chadha/Nelly Agassi, Juan Chavez, Sonja Henderson, Andres Hernandez, Preston Jackson, and Patricia Nguyen/John Lee.

The winning design proposal will be selected by a team of jurors comprised of torture survivors, artists, community activists, cultural workers, architects, educators, and individuals in the philanthropic community. The selected proposal will be announced in the spring of 2019.

Curated by
Hannah Jasper, Independent Interdisciplinary Curator, Arts + Public Life Exhibition Coordinator

Monica Chadha/Nelly Agassi, Juan Chavez, Sonja Henderson, Andres Hernandez, Preston Jackson, and Patricia Nguyen/John Lee.

The memorial project was developed by artists, lawyers, survivors, educators and activists with the group Chicago Torture Justice Memorials (CTJM). CTJM started meeting in 2010 with the goal of imagining what a public memorial could be in the city that acknowledges and condemns the violence in the Burge torture cases while also embracing the struggle of those who endured the torture and fought against it from prison cells to Chicago’s streets. CTJM studied memorials to survivors of state violence from other nations and held workshops across the city, issuing an open call to artists and all justice seekers to submit speculative memorials to the Burge torture cases. Over 70 speculative memorials were featured in a multi-media exhibition including the original draft of the reparations ordinance penned by CTJM co-founder Joey Mogul (Partner, People’s Law Office). CTJM subsequently filed the reparations ordinance in Chicago’s City Council in the fall of 2013 and joined joined with Project NIA, We Charge Genocide, and Amnesty International, USA, to build a human rights campaign that organized tirelessly through the aldermanic and Mayoral election in 2014-2105. The campaign succeeded in getting the historic reparations legislation passed in May 2015 which included the creation of public memorial. Since the passage of the legislation, CTJM has worked with several individuals and organizations to implement the legislation. The last remaining plank of the legislation to be realized is the public memorial.

Arts + Public Life (APL), an initiative of UChicago Arts, provides platforms for artists and access to the arts through residencies, education, cultural entrepreneurship, and arts-led programs and events. APL advances and promotes a robust, collaborative, and evolving relationship between the University of Chicago and the South Side’s vibrant civic, cultural, and artistic communities. APL creates cultural amenities and preserves affordability and authenticity through arts and culture-led neighborhood development. APL continues to share this work by participating in local and national conversations around effective, creative alternatives to conventional financial and development strategies, promoting mindful city-building and equitable neighborhood transformation.

For more information about the Reparations Report Card and Burge survivors memorial, visit:

Chicago Torture Justice Memorials

Official Website

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